Tag Archives: humor

More dubious humor for…

…those whose grasp of physics, chemistry, politics and other arcana is too wide for their own good. (from the WIP)

The band was straggling in and various folk were fiddling about with the stage and the props, so I raised a glass to the living and the dead, so we could get out of there before Fintan got distracted. Fortunately, he was busy doing some calculations in the moisture off the glass on the table top, so he didn’t notice, and, as usual seemed to somehow inhale the drink. He was quite cheerful to leave. That should have made me very afraid, so it did.
Didn’t stop me from following Fintan down into his cave. I’ve never actually seen all of it. I’m not sure Fin has either. That’s the trouble with messing around with space-time in your own backyard. Whatever happens, your own backyard is likely to get a lot bigger than it used to be.
“This here is a tokamak,” said Fin, picking it up off a stool and handing it to me. “You can think of it as a donut.”
“Quite easily. It has a bite out of it,” I said, inspecting it.
“Oh. Then that probably is a donut. Is it warm?”
“Faintly.
“Ah. Then you have got the right one after all. That’s the problem with High Energy Symbolic magic. Reality gets quite upset with it and does strange things. Bring it over here,” he said, picking up a beaker from the rack next to the wall, and tapping some fluid from a condenser next to it. He tasted it, wrinkled his nose. “Should do,” he muttered and poured into a funnel leading to an array of glass tubing with several retorts, surrounding a large copper globe, onto which the various continental outlines had been etched.
“Get the text message up, put the mobile on top of the tokamak, and balance it on top of the globe. You are wearing rubber soled shoes, aren’t you? There’s sometimes a residual charge.”
I did as I was told. It’s best that way with Fintan.
“Right. Turn this crank,” said Fintan as he lit the burner, and went on sipping from the liquid left in the beaker.
I did. For some time.
The result was a fair amount of sweat on my part, and a high-pitched whine. The occasional lightning discharges I paid no mind to. That was pretty standard when you played around with divinitive magics.
Fintan slapped his forehead. “You can stop. I forgot the satellite dish.”
I stopped, sat down, swore gently, while Fintan wandered off.
He came back with a pietre dish. “Couldn’t find the satellite. This’ll have to do. Where did I put the hexaflourophoshoric crystal? Ah. On top of the malemdela there. Pass it to me, Euchaid. Use the tongs.”
Anything Fin recommends tongs for will probably eat your arm from seven paces. I took the small crystal from the squid tentacles, and I handed him the tongs carefully, and he took them with equal care.
He used the small crystal to scratch something into the petrie dish medium. “I can’t believe I forgot this. Forget my own head next. It’s too little alcohol, I tell you. I hope I have the chirality right,” he said, as he dropped the glittery crystal back among the writhing green tentacles.
Fin never forgot anything. Never has. He hadn’t this time either, I’d bet. But the demons in the machine need to believe the magician could make a mistake. I wasn’t fooled, but hopefully they would be.
I got to balance the pietrie dish on the mobile, a small bell-jar on top of that,  and then crank again.
This time we got a result. The pietrie dish started smoking, and the Bell-jar quietly crumbled into dust. The whine intensified and there, with the lightnings arcing through it hung a small glowing mosquito.
“Much better. Last time it was a wasp,” said Fintan beaming. “There you are boy. A mere three megavolts too.”
“I thought glowing little bloodsuckers were quite easy to get off the best-seller racks,” I said, retrieving my phone and dropping hastily it, before it burned me too badly. Slag dribbled through the molten plastic. Another item for the bill for Simone.  I hoped those trustees were good with her money.
“Ah, but this one is special. Look how it hangs above the globe. Shortly it will alight on precisely the spot from which the message had its origins.”
I looked at the mosquito, slowly settling on the copper-plate of the globe, hind legs up, proboscis down. This was divination at its best, as usual. It was aiming for Northern Europe.  Fintan looked at it and shrugged. “The law of unintended consequences. The global positioning stinger got your messager’s place of origin, at a guess, rather than where he sent the message from. Hmm. I’ll try reversing the polarity.”

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Each unto their own humour

I’m very probably the only person in the universe who will ever find this funny. But I did, to the point of having to get up and walk around because my sides were too sore from laughing.

________

The cave glowed with a warm and friendly light. Yeah, I know an eldritch and sickly glow would have been more appropriate, but Fintan uses some kind of glowing ceramic filament for lighting. I know because I got sent out to borrow a cup of perovskite and few spoonfuls of Ytterbium oxide from the neighbors, if they could spare them, when he was working on it. It’s cheaper and easier for me to order these sort of things online than to explain to Fintan that his neighbors are a furniture reconditioner and laundry, and neither of them would lend him a spoonful of sugar, let alone Lanthanide oxides. They might be more generous with rat-poison if they thought he’d drink it. That too is possible. He just doesn’t die.
I listened outside, cautiously. I’ve yet to work out what women find attractive about the old goat, but he’s not helpful when he’s interrupted. But all I could hear was his tuneless whistling. So I walked bravely in past the tottering piles of books. Grimoires, physics tomes, penny horribles… I bought him a computer once.  I thought he could use that for his research, instead of looting libraries. He thought it great for surfing online porn, until he’d given a large number of sites a virus. Then he got bored with it. That was typical of Fin. The time to be really afraid was when he latched onto the new idea.

There he was, in his dirty old white robe and bare feet, scrawling magical symbols onto the floor, straggly white beard narrowly missing the gunk he was shovelling out of little tubs and writing with. I sniffed cautiously. Yep. Quark. A kind of soft cheese, which Fintan makes in various flavours. This looked suspiciously like ‘strange’ quark, which was still better than ‘truth’ or ‘beauty’. They’re point-particles, which meant he was messing about with non-spatial geometry again. Sure enough there was his hand-blown modified Alice version of a Klein Bottle gently rocking away in the middle of the charmed circle.

I wondered if I should run like hell.

He shaped the last  symbol of the Feynman diagram and sat up and grinned at me with that childlike glee of his. “I’m hoping to summons Nonabelian ghosts to deal with the vintage problem.”

The rocking of the bottle was getting quite marked by now. It started to gyrate. The air was a little smoky, but that could have been from the fire on the other side of the orrery.  The bottle began to fill, slowly. With something in a nasty shade of virulent green.

Fintan looked at it and sighed. “It’s either Creme de Menthe again, or some poor alien’s just found his drinking beaker is a lot emptier than he’d thought it was. Well, neither are much use to me.  So,  Eochaid-me-lad, how about if we went somewhere to find a cool glass and some pretty women?”

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